Book IDs IRA godfather

2010-03-29 21:04

Dublin - A groundbreaking new book on the Northern Ireland conflict published on Monday identifies Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams as a key Irish Republican Army (IRA) figure who directed some of the IRA's most notorious killings and bombings.

Sinn Fein rejects the allegations in Voices From the Grave, a book based on interviews provided by Northern Ireland militants to Boston College researchers on condition they not be published until the interviewees were dead.

Most of the book quotes or summarises interviews with Brendan "The Dark" Hughes, who was an IRA comrade of Adams when Northern Ireland's social divisions exploded in 1969 into civil war pitting the Irish Catholics of the IRA against the Protestant majority and the British Army. Hughes gave the interviews in 2001 and 2002 and died in 2008 aged 59.

In the book, Hughes chides Adams for disavowing any involvement in the IRA. Hughes is quoted explaining his and Adams' IRA ranks throughout the 1970s and 1980s, when Hughes admits he was an enthusiastic gunman, bomber and bank robber.

"I never carried out a major operation without the OK or the order from Gerry," the book quoted Hughes as saying. "And for him to sit in his plush office ... and deny it, I mean it's like Hitler denying that there was ever a Holocaust."

Adams still denies membership

Boston College recruited Northern Ireland journalist Ed Moloney - who also detailed Adams' IRA record in his 2002 book A Secret History of the IRA - to turn Hughes' interview transcripts into a book. It also includes the story of Protestant bomber-turned-peacemaker David Ervine, who died in 2007.

No serious historian of the IRA-Sinn Fein movement has ever doubted that Adams was a senior IRA commander, although the politician himself has denied membership ever since he began running for Northern Ireland political positions in 1982.

But this is the first time that a former close colleague of Adams - who helped carry Hughes' coffin - has portrayed the Sinn Fein chief as instrumental in murder and mayhem. The traditional IRA punishment for pointing the finger at colleagues has been death.

Sinn Fein dismissed Hughes' reported comments as old news and twisted by Hughes' deteriorating health.

"The allegations are not new. Gerry Adams has consistently denied these," Sinn Fein said in a statement. "In the last years of his life Brendan Hughes was very ill and he publicly disagreed with the strategy being pursued by (Irish) republicans."

Moloney said Hughes' comments are coloured by his disillusionment with Adams for leading Sinn Fein into a coalition government in Northern Ireland, a corner of the UK that the IRA long sought to force into the Republic of Ireland. The IRA killed nearly 1 800 people from 1970 to 1997, then surrendered its weapons and renounced violence in 2005.

Widow's disappearance

The book quotes Hughes explaining his and Adams' roles in the 1972 abduction and execution of Jeanne McConville, a Belfast widow whose 10 children were split up into different foster homes following her mystery disappearance.

The IRA branded McConville a British Army informer, shot her through the head and buried her secretly 130km away, but didn't admit responsibility until 1995. One of McConville's daughters, Helen McKendry, long campaigned for Adams to persuade the IRA to pinpoint the burial site.

The remains were found accidentally in 2003. McKendry says she now plans to pursue a civil lawsuit against the 61-year-old Adams.

Hughes told the researchers he led the IRA team that "arrested" McConville, but her fate was sealed following a policy argument between Adams and the man he succeeded as Belfast commander, Ivor Bell.

He said Bell wanted McConville's body to be put on public display to intimidate other people from helping the British, but Adams wanted her killing kept mysterious. Hughes credited Adams with overseeing an IRA sub-unit called "the Unknowns" that made several West Belfast civilians disappear.

"There was only one man who gave the order for that woman to be executed," Hughes was quoted as saying. "That man is now the head of Sinn Fein. I did not give the order to execute that woman. He did."

The book also describes Adams as the IRA's "Belfast Brigade" commander who oversaw planning of the first car-bomb attacks in London in March 1973.

Adams and Hughes were arrested together in July 1973, when the British Army pounced on an IRA commanders' meeting in West Belfast. Both were interned without trial. Adams was never convicted of any IRA offense besides a failed prison escape.

- AP

Read more on:    ira  |  northern ireland
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Bellville - 07:59 AM
    Road name: N1 Outbound
    DELAYS approaching the Durban Road exit
  • Wednesday Milnerton - 07:57 AM
    Road name: Marine Drive Inbound
    DELAYS approaching Boundary Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Y

The Samsung Y (Young) is tiny but powerful with Android...

From R1499.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may find yourself fascinated by something which could draw you in to obsessively exploring this subject in depth....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.